This is a bit of an in-between time of year culinary speaking – cold enough that we still require some hearty ballast to keep us going but I am also looking for a bit of spring time zest and greenery to perk up the taste buds. To commence the farewell and see you later in the year to the stews and rich roasts of winter if you will.
We have also, without trying to bore you, been eating less meat for a while. Not that we don’t love it, I live with a committed South African braai master carnivore after all. Just that I wanted to up the vegetable intake partly for healthy reasons but also to encourage the you know who’s that our green and purple and orange friends are fabulous. This quest continues with mixed results. Last week as a half term treat (just kidding) I made a garlicky aubergine dip, a sort of baba ghanoush. My son ate what he had been given, said it was quite nice but firmly refused seconds. My daughter meanwhile looked as if I had fed her a spoonful of wet sand.
Along with aubergines then, courgettes are one of the vegetables that appear more for my husband and I than for when we are gathered en famille. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one for dancing around my children offering them only what I know they will eat. No, no, no I constantly try new things, or old things in new guises. It is just that I remember the misery, as a child, of being faced with something I simply hated eating and see no point forcing the issue.
So the courgette, chilli and garlic to go with pasta. An easy, quick lunch, the chopping taking less time than the pasta does to cook. I used penne today but often use linguine. The capers are optional but add a bite to counter the sweet softness of the courgette and you do need some heat, I start with half a chilli and add more if it turns out to be a mild one.
Courgette, chilli and garlic with pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large clove garlic finely chopped
Half a red chilli, finely chopped
1 courgette, ends trimmed and grated
1 heaped teaspoon of capers
Small bunch of parsley, chopped
Pasta of your choice, enough for 2
Put your pasta on to cook. Heat the oil on a frying pan, add the garlic and chilli and cook gently while you grate the courgette. When the pasta is nearly cooked add the courgette to the frying pan and turn up the heat. Keep stirring so it doesn’t catch, you want the courgette to soften and lose a little water but not so much it becomes a khaki sludge. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the frying pan along with the capers if using. Give it all a good stir, season well and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with parmesan if you like.